Hello friends, my name is Heidi and whether or not you feel it I am holding your hand. I’m holding your hand through depression, through motherhood, through cancer – whatever you’re dealing with, I see your burden and wish to help you carry them. Why? Because I get it.
I get that that depression can make your heart feel heavy and pollute the air you breathe. I get that motherhood can be an equally exhilarating and infuriating experience. I get that receiving a cancer diagnosis feels a lot like being betrayed by your body, and I feel your loneliness. I get it because I’m with you… on the front lines, facing these things together.
I am a new mom living with cancer. Living is the key word because I refuse to let cancer take my life. I have cancer; cancer does *not* have me. Mine is a brain cancer which returned during my pregnancy after three years of remission. I was six months pregnant when a routine MRI revealed new growth. Everything came to a halt when the news arrived. But our baby was still on its way; there was no pause button on his arrival.
Along with new fears, concerns, and anxieties I was carrying new life in my cancered body. My baby was determined to be born and we owed it to him to give him the best life possible. To deliver him to this earth and create an outside womb where he was unconditionally loved and safe. There was little room for fear in this space – his needs trumped mine. And he needs me more than I need anything in this world.
So, I learned to cope with this new reality and I didn’t do it alone. Countless people supported me on this journey. Numerous miracles took place for me to be here: at peace with my body as I accept its dis-ease. A year and a half after the worst thing happened while the best thing was on its way, I now perceive it all as a wake-up call, an education.
My hope is that I can accompany you on your journey. No matter what ails you, whether you have a new or old diagnosis, if you are a parent or not, there is a place for you here. Because all humans need each other. And you’ll soon learn how when I needed you, you showed up. Without doing anything, without knowing I even existed, you were there for me too.
Thank you. You have already gifted me a wonderful thing: your listening.
Photo Credit: Renee Kahn Bresler